Episode 8. "Back"

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"Skip to the end..."

Daisy returns from her holiday in the Far East to discover that Mike has moved into her room and that mysterious customs agents are pursuing her.


John Simm as Steven
('Human Traffic' '24 hour party people' 'Cracker')

Mark Gatiss as Agent Smith
('The league of Gentlemen' 'This Morning with Richard not Judy')

Kevin Eldon as the agent
('Brass Eye' 'This morning with Richard not Judy' 'Nathan Barley' 'Big Train')


'Apocalypse Now' 'Goodfellas' ("Ever since I was young I wanted to be a graphic artist...") 'Manhattan' (Daisy's varied introductions, "She loved London..." ) 'Platoon' (Mike yelling on his knees) 'Pulp Fiction' (Daisy holding the UZI) PopTarts 'Oranges are not the only Fruit' 'The Phantom Menace' 'Pocahontas' 'Casper' Robot Wars, 'Return of the Jedi' (the funeral pyre), Michael Palin's travel-loges 'Ouzo' 'Midnight Express' (The airport chase) 'The Matrix' A-levels Prada Guinness 'Scarface' ( "Say hello to my little friend!" ) 'The Karate Kid' 'The Empire Strikes Back' ( "You Lando!" ) Joey Deacon of 'Blue Peter' fame.

First appearance of...

Daisy doing Kung Fu Mike and Tim playing pool Colin ignoring Daisy Mike living at Meteor street.

"...thumping tunes, kicking bass..."

  • 'What a nightmare' and 'Face up, feet first' by Sons of Silence
  • 'Spandex Man' and 'Chipmonk' by Mr Scruff
  • 'Smash it (cut la roc)' by Fuzz Townshend

"...a super race of mice-spiders..."

Daisy imagines having a fight with Tim after he offers her to join him and Mike in their WWF take-off. She's got quite a violent imagination, booting Mike and Tim in their faces before breaking Tim's arm. Tim imagines (or I suppose he could be remembering) himself burning a pile of boxes labelled 'Star Wars stuff' while dressed as a Jedi Knight.

And I quote...

Daisy starts to talk about her holiday: "It was like being in another country, I mean I was in another country it was like a different world I feel very zen very different; I don't know where to start."
Tim: "Near the end?"

Tim to Mike: "Get off me you bummer!"

Marsha: "Half a bottle of 'Ouzo-destructo' and ooh the regret."

Mike: "I'm off to point the pink pistol at the porcelain firing range."

Marsha: "Duty Free! How did you know?"

Customs guys: "Don't even think about leaving the country."
Daisy: "Don't worry I wont. I can't afford it."

"What a bitch".

Tim and Mike play a very nasty prank on Daisy which involves them pretending, for a split second, that Colin is dead.

Tim says that Twist is either "... sweet and stupid or an evil genius ..."

Marsha to Daisy: "A lot of people lose weight while they're travelling."

Give that man a BAFTA

There's some lovely camera work in the opening montage as Tim introduces the cast in his voice over. The director used a technique he describes as 'frame jumping' in order to get the effect of someone being poised in the act of doing something. The use of freeze frame and voice over would have been very 'Martin Scorsese' so I suppose they didn't want to go overboard with the 'Goodfellas' references. There's an interesting juxtaposition of Tim and Daisy's characters as the camera zooms on to each of them in turn with a blood-curdling crunch, Daisy's psychosis comes from the prospect of having to sleep another night rough after being in the far east for several months, Tim's comes from someone suggesting that 'The Phantom Menace' isn't actually that bad. The noises that Tim and Mike make as they watch the skateboarding disasters video are cleverly used as incidental background noises. When Marsha comes in they go 'shit', when Colin leaves the room uninterested in Daisy they go 'Ooh', then make all sorts of 'oohs' and 'ahhs' as Marsha questions Daisy's fidelity on her Asian travels and Daisy complains about how boring London is.

"Do you rent downstairs?"

Mike is reading Jeanette Winterstone's 'Oranges are not the only Fruit' in the bathroom. This casts some doubt upon his sexuality. Tim talks about his love life briefly at the start of the episode, telling us that he's "... 27 and single, I haven't always been ... I'm over it now." He says as he scribbles over a picture of Dwayne Benzie. The montage of Brian and Twist shows them doing all sorts of virtually indescribable things together; one of the photos shows Twist with something large and flesh coloured in her mouth, this is Brian's elbow.

"Today's youth... okay young adults."

Tim and Daisy sitting in a tree...

Tim and Daisy have a very awkward hug when she gets back into the flat after being away; they get very close to kissing on the lips but just manage to avoid it. In his opening montage, Tim describes Colin as "... our baby; err dog!"

"Ooh Mamma!"

Tim appears to be rolling a spliff while Daisy pours out wine. Daisy asks Brian if he is on Prozac. Marsha pours wine into Colin's bowl and offers him a cigarette.

"Fuck off Twist!"

Marsha sees her daughter Amber out of the house by running after her and yelling "FUCK OFF!" She also shouts "Where the fuck have you been..." as Amber comes back to the house. Daisy calls Steven a "... little shit!" , there are 2 other uses of 'shit' in the episode.

"Timmy: fetch me my tools!"

It is mentioned in passing that Mike is in the quarter finals of 'Robot Wars'.

"Get off your arse!"

Tim and Mike fall asleep instantly when Daisy gets her video camera out to show them her travels. Once again Daisy tries gamely to convince herself and others that she's ready to go out and become a journalist, she tells Marsha that ""I feel energised..."" and that she's "... absolutely good." Whatever that means.

Daisy's articles.

We now get to see the text of the articles that Daisy wrote; anyone that can be bothered to freeze-frame their DVD player is welcome to read it, I can't be arsed.

"...pull my finger..."

Daisy makes herself feel at home by slinging her stuff all over the room and generally making things messy.

"Let's play!"

Lots and lots of kung fu and fighting in this episode, from Daisy's general arse-kicking to Mike and Tim have a 'fight' and Mike toting a pink pistol in the pub. Jessica Stephenson, Kevin Eldon and Mark Gatiss did almost all of their own stunts in the pub fight scene. There are a series of great cuts after the fight finishes, the camera pans across the customs agents three times in quick succession.

How's that for some Fried Gold?

My favourite moment of the episode is during the opening montage when Tim talks about Mike. Mike is assembling a machinegun with a blindfold on, when he is finished he checks his time against a stopwatch and pumps the air with his fist; "YEAH!" I started crying the first time I saw that, pure genius.

This episode's second fried gold moment goes to Mike talking about his recent troubles in his house. "I've had to move out of Mum's place. Things have been a bit difficult, she's been very overbearing and I felt suffocated and unable to grow, I've got a lot to offer the world Daisy and I don't think my Mother's ready to accept that yet. And I shot the cat up the arse-hole."

"Hawk the Slayer's rubbish!"

Tim mentions that he had "... a few things to work through..." with George Lucas; and so begins the 'Spaced' campaign against 'The Phantom Menace'.

"I didn't think Phantom Menace was that bad..."

So just how bad is the Phantom Menace? Well I've made my opinions clear in my film reviews and it has to be said that the film is fairly risable, the use of far too many CGI graphics and a terrible child actor toally overpower the action of the - actually quite good - lightsabre battles and leave a bad taste in the mouth of anyone who was a fan of 'Star Wars'. The problem with over-criticising the film is that we couldn't really have expected anything else, George Lucas is a bad director and a poor writer, the man is good with the big ideas but doesn't have a clue in these other crucial areas of film making. Look at the state of the other prequal films, 'Revenge of the Sith' is worse than 'Phantom Menace' while 'Attack of the Clones' is only redeemed by the fact that Yoda finally got to do something cool. My point is that we know Phantom Menace is bad, but let's get over it and watch something else please.

"I just think he's a bit pretentious".

Brian's latest in a long line of ostentatious painting techniques involves him spitting paint at the canvas. As usual Daisy has grand designs about her career, she seems to think that she can get a job making documentaries as she travels around the world, basically getting the BBC to pay for her to free-load. She says she wants to be "Michael Palin for the millennium." , not much chance of that mate. She also talks about how she "... met a lot of annoying idiots ... they'd just go on and on..." while she was travelling, hmmm.

"That was kind of unbelievable."

'Matrix' style customs officers appear at the pub to take you away for 'carrying sensitive materials', you fight them off, show them a video tape and they go away. Does anyone else think that the writers of 'Spaced' were carrying the bounds of believability too far with this plot? In more mundane error, the montage of Mike beating Tim at pool shows Mike potting 8 red balls before the black. Standard British pools tables have 7 red balls.

"Big's in this year."

Daisy comments on Tim's bleached hair, calling him 'Casper', Tim wears a light blue top for the episode and his now-standard brown beanie hat. Jessica Stephenson certainly lost weight between the first and second series; she also acquired a bit of a tan (although this couple be fake for the purposes of the 'going to the Far East' plot). Twist is only seen in the opening montage, she's wearing a blue combo with matching scarf and fluffy headband. Mike spends the whole episode in combat gear while Brian shows off his fairly buff torso before putting on his red dressing gown.

Finally, a word from your author.

The first episode of the second series does what all good first episodes in second series should do, introduces the characters (for the benefit of new comers of course, although channel 4 re-screened the first series before showing this one) without becoming repetitive and follows on from what occurred at the end of the first series. There are subtle changes such as Mike living at Meteor Street and Brian being with Twist, but essentially we're in the same territory as before; wacky things happen while Tim and Daisy struggle to come to terms with post-juvenile life in the 21st centaury.

'Back' continues down the road that was laid in 'Chaos' in the first series, the events of the episode are utterly ludicrous and one struggles to find any resemblance to reality at all. Even Tim and Daisy comment that the day was "... kind of unbelievable." , the writers perhaps admitting that even they recognised the madness of their plot. The themes of the episode are not unfamiliar to us though, looking at the different ways that people struggle to cope with ever-changing relationships. The episode's plot is oddly linear while at the same time containing weird images and inconceivable occurrences. Unlike a usual 'Spaced' episode all the characters stick together throughout and there are no subplots, one wonders if this was deliberate in an attempt to avoid the plot becoming too strange even for channel 4 viewers.